Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 123: Tales of an Empress’s Neutralization

Introduction

< Part 122 | Part 123 | Part 124 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 4, Part 6 of 8

Pages 7226-7283

Analyzing Homestuck is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
(Just kidding, it isn’t.)

Only two posts left of A6A6I4 after this! I’ll probably finish A6A6I4 before this month ends, then put my Homestuck posts on what will hopefully be my last hiatus before I finish them.

Just like my last post, this one begins with a Vriska/Meenah dream bubble scene. This time, it’s somewhat more morbid in tone, taking place in what looks to be the same dream bubble that the Openbound games started in. But just like last time, I’m going to sidestep the fact that Hussie forgot all about their age difference.

MEENAH: BOOM
MEENAH: there goes another one
VRISKA: Wow, yeah.
MEENAH: dude sure is busy today
VRISKA: I’ve got to hand it to him.
VRISKA: As far as indestructi8le, reality-destroying monsters go, he really is tireless.
VRISKA: Even though on some level I can tell he’s pro8a8ly a complete moron, his dedic8tion and persistence is actually pretty admira8le.

MEENAH: holla

This is exactly what I keep saying about Caliborn. He’s dedicated so much energy into improving his art skills and becoming as powerful as can be, and as Lord English it’s on some level admirable how relentless he is in his quest to kill his sister.

VRISKA: How many ghosts do you think were in that 8u88le he just wrecked?
MEENAH: dunno
MEENAH: hard to give a carp really
MEENAH: and not just cause im a sociopath

It’s very interesting that Meenah outright admits she considers herself to be a sociopath. She knows that she’s internally rooted for villainous world domination and probably knew that even before she learned about her alternate life as the Condesce. She also knows that she can’t hate herself for having such ruthless, bloodthirsty thoughts, which leads her to plenty of moral conflicts. She’s right about to give some insight into Lord English and the dream bubble arc.

This image has a lot to unpack. Vriska has undergone a full-out pirate makeover, with a punk hairstyle, an anchor tattoo with the shapes of her horns, revamped clothing, golden jewelry in her eyes and lips, and no more glasses. Meenah, on the other hand, is the same old Meenah. Vriska’s redesign is symbolic of the completely new person she’s become, finally free from her haughty and ambitious self; it sets the stage for her encounter with alive Vriska, which I’ll probably have an absurd amount of things to say about. Don’t forget about Aradia in the top right corner, who is watching the destruction from atop the building to get the best possible view, with a smile that’s probably a thousand times as intense as Vriska’s and Meenah’s combined. Also, don’t forget about Hussie in the back, hiding behind the juju chest which never stopped being a thing or anything. Or at least I think that’s the juju chest?

VRISKA: What do you mean?
MEENAH: hes just reclamming souls who hangin around too long anyway
MEENAH: before i died i was already like i aint give a fuck about death much
MEENAH: i looked at it like life had a price of admission no one could afford
MEENAH: in the ticket takers eye theres no way you could ever earn your stay
MEENAH: so to stick around you gotta learn to steal
MEENAH: but shit catches up with all thieves in the end
MEENAH: even the great ones
VRISKA: …
MEENAH: i lived like death wasnt no thing
MEENAH: at all times overdue
MEENAH: a hard stop to being you
MEENAH: and only chumps arent fine with that
MEENAH: but then i die
MEENAH: and find out dying dont mean what little i thought it did
MEENAH: so all those spook eyed souls up there scared to death of double dyin?
MEENAH: fuck em

Meenah’s explanation of her views on death is oddly poignant. She views death as the natural state of being and life as a mere blip that you can’t hope to keep, but she’s gotten by just fine with such a worldview and even denounces those who fear death.

VRISKA: Peixes, have I ever told you, for a no-8ullshit fish princess, you sure have a way with words?
MEENAH: yeah youve kissed my ass before if thats what you askin

And here, Meenah displays a flavor of sarcastic humility that’s very… Meenah.

VRISKA: Ooh, look!
VRISKA: Another space tragedy.
MEENAH: daamn
VRISKA: I will say this much. All the cosmic mayhem is really quite pretty.
VRISKA: Almost like the 8ig man out there is putting on a fireworks display, just for us.
MEENAH: daw
MEENAH: lord muscleguy be thoughtful as fuck

God, I can really see where Meenah and Vriska are coming from. All these irrelevant ghosts may be in the process of being massacred, but all this destruction gradually becomes beautiful if you watch it long enough. Maybe Lord English’s motive in destroying the Furthest Ring isn’t just to kill Calliope’s ghost, but also to showcase his latest art skill, the art of fireworks. Seems like a logical step after claymation if you ask me.

VRISKA: How far do you think he’ll go?
VRISKA: To find… who was it? His “kid sister”?
VRISKA: Is he really going to keep smashing the 8lack space forever until he finds her, til it’s all gone?
VRISKA: Is it actually POSSI8LE to shatter a continuum that’s theoretically infin8te?
MEENAH: shrug
VRISKA: Like I said. Got to admire the guy’s determin8tion.
VRISKA: Still, I can’t imagine he’s led a very enjoya8le existence.
VRISKA: I mean, sure. May8e he THINKS he has. In the way that totally delusional, egomaniacal people tend to do.
VRISKA: I 8et he never had anyone in his life who was actually important to him.
VRISKA: Someone who could have helped him see that nothing is worth that kind of o8session.
VRISKA: That it’s 8etter to just try and 8e happy.
MEENAH: poor skull guy 38(

Here, Vriska puts a surprisingly sympathetic and tragic light on Lord English. He may be a ruthless villain, but deep down he surely has the potential to be a kind person and a dear friend. It’s upsetting to think that Caliborn, the triumphant artist who also happens to be a total egomaniac, ended up living an existence as sad as this. Vriska’s speculation about Lord English reminds me of the story behind god tier Calliope, who grew up without friends unlike regular Calliope and ended up living existence as a mystical force of paradox space who only loosely aligns with the concept of “good”. It may sound cheesy, but Vriska’s speech is a poignant way to remind readers how important it is to have friends and a good demonstration of her character development.

… and then this happens. The close-up of Vriska and Meenah holding hands demonstrates how Vriska has started to ape Meenah’s punk style, which one could argue indicates the start of a strong dependence on her.

The Saw doll is still there. I can only imagine all the jokes John and Davesprite traded about Saw, which eventually started boiling into aggressive arguments.

JOHN: ok, bloody scarf.
JOHN: where to next?
JOHN: framed, huh?
JOHN: i mean… “FR4M3D”.
JOHN: …which i guess is pronounced the same way, but you have to yell it in terezi’s weird annoying voice?

Yep, that’s exactly what John has to do. He can probably imagine Terezi bantering back at him about his critique of her voice. These instructions are clear enough that he has no way of screwing them up. Terezi probably knows that her voice sticks out in John’s head, which may be why she designed the instructions that way.

The password is FR4M3D, which takes John to Terezi’s scalemate roleplaying shenanigans immediately after we first learned her name. Being the goofy nerd he is, John follows her instructions to the letter and rescues the green scalemate before Terezi can stab it. On a meta level, this scene demonstrates how sharp Terezi’s memory of canonical events is, which is a trait she shares with John. But on an in-story level, it’s hard to tell whether this scene is anything more than her needling John.

JOHN: so…
JOHN: you wanted me to steal a stuffed dragon from your room?
JOHN: how is this even the slightest bit important to the time line?

I have a theory for how this scene is important to the timeline.

We see in the panel above John that Terezi’s past self (her post-retcon self, rather) is confused at the disappearance of her green scalemate. Terezi’s pre-retcon self possibly intended to use this scene to plant the seed for the mystery of the blue intruder, which confounds post-retcon Terezi until she’s treated to John punching Vriska in the face. From Terezi’s perspective, this early introduction to an intruder retconning scenes perhaps softens the shock of John appearing out of nowhere and stopping her from killing Vriska, since she will have suspected there was a fishy blue guy on the loose.

But the main reason Terezi gave John this instruction was clearly just to troll him, because that’s the dynamic they have, endless bickering and mind games and all.

Come on, Hussie. The word appearing on Terezi’s invisible nose should obviously be “sn1f”.

Terezi sniffs outside her hive, knowing indeed that something fishy is going on. Not fishy as in related to Feferi, though that would make for a great pun.

The next password is “MOM3NT”, which John remarks is weirdly nonspecific, though it may ring a bell for attentive readers.

John zaps in right after a memorable heartfelt conversation between Karkat and Terezi near the end of the trolls’ arc about dream selves, a supposed “little moment” between them, and the secret of Karkat’s blood color. Karkat/Terezi is one of those heterosexual ships that Hussie has talked down in his book commentary; when writing this part, Hussie had no doubt started to feel this way about such ships. Upon Terezi’s instruction, John writes the following:

This line is probably causing a bunch of inner reflection for Terezi about her relationship with Karkat… well, at least until she reads the text below:

Pre-retcon Terezi probably know John would do this.
She also probably knew that her post-retcon self would keep this mystery a secret.

For some reason, I never stopped to think about the implications of post-retcon Terezi knowing John’s name before the trolls even beat the game. My bet is that she chose not to tell anyone about this mysterious “John” so as to not to disrupt the timeline and pretended that learning about the humans is just as surprising for her as it is for all the other trolls. Maybe she even knew that her timeline’s version of John wouldn’t end up relevant and can just play out the story’s events the same as usual. One thing is for certain: upon first reading John’s name, Terezi immediately judges him to be a total dorky goober.

JOHN: heheheheheh.
JOHN: confused yet, terezi?? hahaha.
JOHN: this is actually a lot of fun.
JOHN: i am like the ultimate prankster now… nanna would be so proud!

John has started to take satisfaction in all his retcon adventures. He hasn’t forgotten about his family’s longtime pranking legacy and remarks that he’s upholding it perfectly.

JOHN: it’s kind of like if dr. who used his fancy phone booth to go around playing tricks on people, and that’s all he did.
JOHN: then maybe that show would be less lame!
JOHN: also, harry anderson should be all the doctors.
JOHN: wow, i should use my retcon powers to make THAT show happen! wow, yes.
JOHN: it’s like all of the super heroes say, with great power comes great responsibility.

I love this little passage where John fantasizes about a cooler version of Doctor Who, which is a show that I’m guessing Hussie never liked much. His line about Harry Anderson playing all the doctors suggests that John considers Anderson to be an amazingly versatile actor who can play any role he wants to. Speaking of Harry Anderson, I think it’s a safe bet that Harry Anderson Egbert is a skillful prankster who rivals both his namesake and his father in talent.

JOHN: hmm.
JOHN: i wonder who the “him” was in terezi’s note.
JOHN: karkat, maybe?
JOHN: man, i sure hope terezi didn’t send me on a time travel quest just to fix her fucking boyfriend problems.
JOHN: god DAMNIT terezi!

It makes sense that John would guess Karkat to be “him”. He’s the only male troll who John thinks is cool, and because he deep down highly respects Terezi, Karkat is his first guess as to who she had boyfriend problems with.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention “you don’t need him” is the spark that ignites post-retcon Davekat, which is a ship that I have very mixed feelings about. I don’t feel like discussing that now; better done when we see Dave and Karkat being maybe possibly romantic in Vriskagram.

Now it’s time for a break from John’s retcon adventures to see what Jade, Jane, and Calliope are up to in the dream bubbles.

CALLIOPE: what else do yoU remember, jane?
CALLIOPE: the more yoU tell Us, the closer we may come to jogging yoUr and jade’s memory of how yoU died.
CALLIOPE: not to mention, the closer we will get to completing this lovely illUstrated story. :u
JANE: Hrm.
JANE: My recollection continues to be so darn hazy.
JANE: Is there anything from my session that you can remember, Callie?

CALLIOPE: UnfortUnately from my perspective, most of it was blacked oUt.
CALLIOPE: everything else i know, i have learned from ancient joUrnals, whose veracity i have come to regard as…
CALLIOPE: tenUoUs.
CALLIOPE: yoU two are the only primary soUrces i have left to reconstrUct the tale. if only yoU can keep jogging yoUr memories!

The tenuous veracity of Calliope’s ancient journals may be a reference to how the retcon (which is currently in the process of happening) has muddled the truth of certain events in canon. It’s ambiguous how the Calliope we’ve been following since the start of the comic was affected by the retcon; she probably grew up in the same universe created by the post-retcon alpha session, but if that’s the case then why do she and Caliborn interact with the pre-retcon alpha kids? Maybe that’s what Calliope means by all this being tenuous. Not that the retcon’s impact on the cherub session is very important anyway.

JANE: I see.
JANE: Well, I do recall quite a bit more from our stint as tricksters.
JANE: For some reason all those memories are still quite vivid.
JANE: I suppose I could recount more of that drunken tomfoolery and extend our trickster chapter.
CALLIOPE: oh, yes!!! i woUld absolUtely adore hearing more aboUt yoUr trickster adventUres.
CALLIOPE: it pleases me to no end hearing that yoU experienced sUch joyfUl escapades as a resUlt of the birthday present i gave yoU! :U

JANE: Um. Yes!
JANE: Joyful.
JANE: That’s what they were. So joyful.
JANE: What a present! You are a true sweetheart, Callie.
CALLIOPE: ^u^

It’s somewhat arbitrary which memories Jade and Jane remember and which they don’t, but it makes sense thinking strictly on a meta level that Jane would remember the trickster arc well. This implies that the trickster arc went basically the same after the retcon, showing readers that among the many things in the alpha kids’ storyline that the retcon may have overwritten, them becoming tricksters isn’t one of them. Neither is them becoming god tiers, as is obvious from the fact that Jane is wearing her god tier outfit. And it’ll soon be heavily hinted that this Jane is from the post-retcon timeline.

JANE: So, where was I?
JANE: Ah yes. Dirk had just acquiesced to the siren’s song of the trickster.
JANE: When all the rainbow magic and sparkle dust had subsided, there he stood, as stoic and rigid as ever.
JANE: He was like a plank of wood in orange trousers and suspenders. A bronze statue in a silly pair of wrist warmers. A stone-faced automaton with a shock of vermilion hair, in which comfortably nestled what appeared to be an orange soft drink.
JANE: The juju’s potent spell seemed only to strengthen his resolve in betraying no emotion whatsoever.
JANE: But would his curmudgeonly facade prove a deterrent to Roxy’s lascivious wiles? Methinks not!
JANE: She advanced upon him with her magic ring, seeking his hand in quadruple betrothal.
JANE: Her lips puckered and quivered, like an amorous cephalopod skulking the briny ocean depths for a handsome mate.

My god, I love this prose-style description of the trickster arc so much. Jane channels her inner Nannasprite with this exposition; it’s very Hussie but at the same time very Jane. Jane’s sense of humor is often overlooked in favor of the other alpha kids, most especially Roxy, which is pretty unfortunate. Jane in general is one of the most unfortunate characters in Homestuck, always overshadowed by other characters in fans’ eyes.

JADE: guys i think weve heard enough about the trickster stuff 😐
CALLIOPE: (shoot!)

Unlike Jane, Jade freely admits the trickster arc makes her uncomfortable. Calliope probably thinks Jade is just being weird as usual.

JADE: jane, dont you remember when we turned into bad guys?
JANE: Bad guys?
JADE: yeah…
JADE: i turned into an evil werewolf for a while
JADE: and you i think were some kind of cyborg

JANE: Yes, that does sound very familiar.
JANE: Can you tell me anything else to nudge my recollection?
JADE: ummmmm
JADE: you had a pitchfork thingy and your outfit was bright red

JANE: Yes, of course!
JANE: I do remember that now.
JANE: Oh dear. I really was behaving horribly, wasn’t I?
JADE: yeah, we both were
JADE: it feels like it was all a bad dream
JADE: im glad its over now, even if it means were probably dead

JANE: Mm-hm.
JANE: It’s coming back to me now…
JANE: Gosh, how embarrassing it is to recall my actions.
JANE: They somehow manage to trump my indiscretions as a trickster.
JANE: The things I said to Jake!!!
JADE: 😮
JADE: what did you say?

JANE: I can’t even bring myself to talk about it.
JANE: You’re right, Jade. We probably are better off dead than having to face the music for our shameful deeds.

Jane reveals here that a small portion of the events of A6A6I1 were kept the same after the retcon: Jake and Roxy’s imprisonment and Jane’s brutal speech about making Jake her sex slave. Again, we can assume those conversations went about the same as before.

CALLIOPE: i do not wish to pry into matters that make yoU Uncomfortable…
CALLIOPE: bUt can yoU at least recall the circUmstances which were likely to have resUlted in yoUr deaths?

JANE: Hm.
JANE: Yes, I believe I can.
JANE: Remembering my encounter with Jake in his prison cell has reminded me of a crisis that followed shortly thereafter.
JANE: It caught us all quite by surprise, if I recall, even the Condesce.
JANE: I believe there were unanticipated factors which even she was unable to account for.

A major theme of the retcon is that it even catches villains like the Condesce by surprise, leading to factors she hadn’t accounted for. This same theme is discussed in the Skaianet Systems documents explaining how the retcon got the better of the witch and allowed for her demise. Vriska controversy or not, the retcon’s theme of overriding supposed predestination is really cool. The Condesce executed her spring trap without a hitch pre-retcon, everything going as planned until Aranea interfered with the timeline. After the retcon, however, her plans are nipped in the bud much sooner by the other Serket, who the Condesce wasn’t prepared one bit for. This is especially important since a good portion of the Condesce’s actions are at the behest of Lord English, the supposed final boss of Homestuck and all its predestination.

Jane then goes back to her storytelling voice and finally gets into the juicy stuff.

JANE: ‘Twas like Jade said. We’d been hoodwinked by none other than the Batterwitch herself.
JANE: The old lady’s fishy mind tricks had us both behaving like a pair of crooks!
JANE: We were all too willing to do her dirty work, and none too shy about reveling in our misdeeds.
JANE: It was as if she’d pulled the stops on our sense of conscience. At last we were free to act upon our darkest desires.
JANE: And if it please the jury, I’d prefer said desires were kept stricken from this record. >:B
JADE: i second the motion

Jane’s mention of her and Jade’s darkest desires is a point in favor for their pre-retcon deaths’ rulings as just. Jane’s death especially was unambiguously ruled as just, which implies exactly what she says here: she hasn’t gotten over her darkest inner desires quite as much as her post-trickster conversations implied.

CALLIOPE: (doUble shoot!!)

Poor Calliope, she was curious about what those darkest desires were. Cherubs just have this insatiable love for storytelling.

Look, it’s the only appearance of Jake in all of A6A6I4!
Unless you count the oil retcon panels, that is.

In the panel above, I find it amusing how Calliope specifically labels that one Derse building as “jail”. Perhaps because she isn’t as familiar with Derse as she is with Prospit.

JANE: The crafty witch made sure I would be the brains of the operation.
JANE: She saw to it her heiress had a super computer wrapped around her noggin years in advance.
JANE: A state of the art Thoughtwave Tiaratop, for the up and coming junior battermaster on the go — with the factory default set to EVIL!

“Super computer”? With a space? I guess we now know where John got his habit of putting spaces in compound words from.

On a less silly note, the tiaratop is a good demonstration of how long the Condesce had the whole spring trap plan up her sleeve. That further shows how shocking it is for her when the post-retcon meteor crew intercepts those plans.

JANE: But if I was the brains of the outfit, Jade was the uncontested brawn.
JANE: Within two shakes of a dog’s tail, she kicked Dirk to the curb of the incipisphere.
JANE: Then in one fell swoop, she and I pinched Roxy and Jake respectively, and hauled them right off to the slammer for interrogation.
JANE: The slammer, as we all know, is how one describes the penal system when feeling extra angry at crimes.
JANE: Their crime, you ask? It was being on the wrong side of the law.
JANE: And by wrong, I mean right.
CALLIOPE: jane, slow down! this is all solid gold.

The Aimless Renegade may be long dead, but callbacks like this (slammer is what you call jail when you’re extra angry at crimes) show that his legacy is far from forgotten. I highly appreciate such callbacks like this, paying tribute to one of the few characters Homestuck truly kills off without any alternate selves or dream ghosts.

In Calliope’s art style, Jane’s Crockertier outfit looks like Sweet Bro’s pajamas.

I like the bar of red and green in the image above; those cherub blood colors make it clear this is Calliope’s drawing. I have to wonder if it the green/red Jade/Jane thing was intentional on Hussie’s part or just now noticed by Calliope.

JANE: But before we could badger hapless pals in the slammer, there was work to be done.
JANE: We were to prepare for the others, scheduled to arrive shortly on a meteor from the furthest ring.
JANE: I was ordered to build up the houses on our planets to reach Skaia. The witch said it was critical to her plans.
JANE: Whereas Jade was told to intercept the meteor, and scatter all her friends on the four new planets.
JANE: They were all to be separated into pairs, and prepared to receive instruction to help us advance the cause.
JANE: But then, something went wrong. Something fully unanticipated, even by the Witch!

After the retcon, Jade and Jane’s ordered roles are taken over by Vriska and Arquiusprite respectively. Arquiusprite is a fitting replacement for Crockertier Jane because they’re both red and cybernetic, matching with the color of the alpha kids’ Sburb cursor.

JANE: Before Jade could intercept the meteor, she disappeared without a trace.
JADE: i did? 😮
CALLIOPE: (jade, shh! this is getting exciting.)
JANE: Perhaps it’s my shoddy memory acting up again, but I have no recollection of what happened to her.
JANE: This left the Witch’s scheme in total shambles, and without Jade’s unlimited power at her command, the situation on Derse was vulnerable.

Jane refers to Jade’s power as “unlimited” which makes it clear this isn’t a timeline where Aranea got to interfere and unlock Jake’s full hope powers. In this timeline, the alpha session players have no idea what the limits of Jade’s first guardian powers are or if anyone can outdo them.

JANE: Jade’s friends were now unaccounted for, and could freely move about the medium without being caught.
JANE: They used their freedom to maximum advantage. Staying a step ahead of the Witch, they organized and came up with a plan.
JANE: The plan, you ask?
JANE: A prison break!!!

It’s interesting to learn how much the Condesce’s plans hinged on Jade; without her, the witch is basically neutralized. Taking Jade out of the picture was all that was needed to let the meteor crew stay united and come up with a plan on their own.

JANE: They struck at just the right moment, while the Witch was out searching for them. They had established a series of clever decoys to lure her away.

We don’t know much about the decoys Jane mentioned, but I’m going to guess they were mostly Dave’s doing with his time travel powers, maybe with Rose’s light powers to help. It would have been cool to see those decoys, but telling it through Jane’s exposition and Calliope’s art is a worthwhile change of pace.

JANE: Their assault on the Derse prison was furious, with only myself and a few agents on hand to fend them off.
JANE: Their aim was to free Jake and Roxy, and I can only presume, me as well from my corrupted state.
JANE: But I was not about to go down easy. Oh no.
JANE: The melee was fierce, and alas…
JANE: Not without casualty. 😦
CALLIOPE: what happened, jane?
CALLIOPE: was someone slain? other than yoU and jade?

JANE: I’m sorry. The memory is coming back to me.
JANE: It is difficult to talk about, let alone present it with a flourish a good story deserves.
JADE: well forget about the story for a second
JADE: just tell us with regular words… i mean if you want to

JANE: No, it’s ok.
JANE: I shall persevere.
JANE: Our tale must go on.
CALLIOPE: (;u;)

Attentive readers may be able to guess who the casualty is. We already know John was killed in the timeline Jade and Jane are from, and since he and Roxy are the Game Over timeline’s only non-sprite survivors, it’s logical that Roxy would get killed off in the post-retcon timeline, which is exactly what’s about to happen.

With Roxy’s post-retcon death, all eight beta and alpha kids have a permanent death symbolic of their character.

And so, we have a crushing parallel to Rose’s death in Game Over. Both Rose and Roxy committed acts of Lalondian bravery, both in the Game Over and post-retcon timelines. In both cases, Rose attacks a trident user and then is intercepted by a surprise appearance from Roxy. The only difference is who the trident landed in: Rose before the retcon and Roxy after the retcon. Their deaths complement each other beautifully and tragically.

JANE: Roxy’s young mother made an exceedingly aggressive move to free her estranged daughter.
JANE: She attacked me with a fearsome enchantment of blinding light!
JANE: I deftly sidestepped her sorcery, and in my demented state found myself enraged by her claim on my beloved Bffsy.
JANE: I let my fork sail, straight and true, toward the interloping Lalonde.
JANE: But Roxy…
JANE: In a sudden fit of gumption, she intercepted my fork.
JANE: Directly through her chest.
JANE: I knew it before her heart even stopped.
JANE: Her death was surely heroic.

Roxy’s heroic ruling is not even remotely a surprise. We don’t need need the ruling explicitly shown; a presumption from Jane is enough.

Now let’s go over all the beta and alpha kids’ permanent deaths in Act 6 Act 6—each of them is symbolic of something.

  • John: blown up by Typheus, post-retcon, ruling ambiguous, symbolic of his alternate selves’ irrelevance
  • Rose: stabbed by the Condesce, pre-retcon, heroic, symbolic of her Lalondian bravery
  • Dave: stabbed by Bec Noir and the Monarch, pre-retcon, heroic, symbolic of his desire to protect his friends at all costs
  • Jade: defeated by Jake and crushed by Aranea, pre-retcon, just (possibly interfered by Aranea), symbolic of her being outclassed through Aranea utterly hacking the session
  • Jane: stabbed by Aranea, pre-retcon, just, symbolic of her worst inner desires
  • Jake: stabbed by Aranea alongside Jane, pre-retcon heroic, symbolic of his foolishness
  • Roxy: stabbed by Jane, post-retcon, heroic, symbolic of her Lalondian bravery
  • Dirk: consumed by Caliborn’s glitches, post-retcon, ruling ambiguous, symbolic of his failure and self-blaming

All those deaths are symbolic of something different, except for the Lalondes whose deaths parallel each other. In any case, post-retcon Roxy’s death transitions us to an emotional zero-word scene with her pre-retcon self on LOWAS.

Sadstuck at its finest.

A bunch of salamanders have solemnly gathered around Roxy, who is holding a funeral for Rose. Given Roxy’s strong association with funerals, the salamanders’ presence gives her a tinge of comfort, even though they probably don’t have a clue who Rose is. It’s no matter; these yellow creatures are solemn and understanding either way.

This panel shows Roxy using her message in a bottle modus and reminds us of the goofy alcoholic girl she once was. Her overwhelming desire to finally meet her mother hasn’t changed one bit though.

Roxy gives Rose a proper burial in a very symbolic place: the very same site Dave’s bro was killed in, with Roxy’s mask taken off and tied around the anime sword. Any time Roxy holds a funeral, you can guarantee there will be tons of symbolism involved. The mask and sword together may be intended to represent both of Rose’s ecto-parents.

A few more panels lead to this incredibly heartwarming reunion:

Think about this. From Frigglish’s death until this very moment, Roxy had presumed her cat to be dead forever. But now, she’s finally learned that the cat is alive once more as Jaspersprite. The very existence of Jaspersprite is a great demonstration of Rose’s bravery and heroism, since bringing her cat back is why Rose got into Sburb in the first place. But Roxy probably isn’t thinking about any of this; she’s just tearfully happy to see her beloved cat again.

See you next time as John honks a horn with an unamused expression.

>> Part 124: The Honk That Changed the World

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